Survivor Game Changers hype man preview: Tony Vlachos

Admit it, you’ve been waiting for this one. But first, a brief warning: if you haven’t had enough profanity in your diet today, you’re about to get your fill. Because I’m here to preach about Tony Motherfuckin’ Vlachos! GET HYPE, Y’ALL! 

In hip-hop music, a hype man supports the rappers with exclamations and interjections and attempts to increase the audience’s excitement. For Survivor: Game Changers, I’ll once again be serving as hype man for a few select players in order to help get you excited about both the player and the season. And now it is time for us all to rejoin #TeamTV.

Watching Tony’s game in Cagayan was like looking at a Picasso painting for the first time and saying, “Why does her face look all fucking weird like that?” Because it’s a piece of motherfucking art, fool. You weren’t appreciating it because you were looking at it the wrong way. But you get it now, right? If you don’t, then sit the fuck down- it’s time for your art appreciation class.

I mean, I get why you asked the question. Art is fucking weird.

As it was being created, I looked at Tony’s masterpiece the wrong way, too. After the introduction videos and the season premiere, I was thinking, “Look at this clown-ass motherfucker, building crazy spy shacks, lying about being a cop, hashtagging #TeamTV on all his tweets, and saying he’s gonna lie, cheat, and steal. They’ll boot his ass as soon as they can’t put up with him anymore. I’ve seen this story before.” Andy even gave Tony a zero percent chance of winning after the first episode.

Here’s what Tony did over the next few episodes:

  • He lied to Sarah about everything- even shit he didn’t need to- and she eventually ended up on his side.
  • He gave confessionals where he was proclaiming his love for idols and kissing clues.
  • He made Merriam-Webster update the dictionary.

Then, after his tribe won a reward challenge, Tony got to go to the other tribe’s beach to steal some items. Oh, you thought thievery would be enough for Tony? The motherfucker told you he came to lie, cheat, and steal! He was not going to be denied two-thirds of his fun!

After stealing their shit, Tony told the other tribe that he had a clue to the immunity idol and was going to give it to Jeremiah. Except that it was total bullshit. What he actually gave Jeremiah was a clue to the idol hidden at Tony’s camp. Cold.

A week later he’d already forgotten Jeremiah’s name. Ruthless.

There are very few subtle moments with Tony, because the man is about as subtle as a loud fart in a quiet elevator. But watch Tony’s reaction when his side wins the merge vote. While Spencer and Tasha are looking around for answers and trying to piece together what just went wrong, Tony can’t resist imitating them.

But for those of us that write and podcast about Survivor, the real fun began when Tony flipped on his “Top five, baby!” alliance and voted out LJ. All the Survivor podcasts and bloggers were just clowning Tony: “Villain edit!”, “He can’t possibly win now, too over the top negative!”, “This is just Russell Hantz all over again!” The only ones that weren’t hating on him were the ones that pretend to love every Survivor just to land interviews later. (You know the ones.)

Stephen Fishbach was so mortified that Tony had turned on a loyal ally that it started a fantastic Twitter beef where Tony diagnosed Stephen’s problem with analyzing Tony’s game: Fishbach couldn’t see through his shit-covered glasses. But one podcast was smart enough to say, “Hold the fuck up. Tony may be crazy, but he’s not stupid (even though we may have once thought that he was stupid). That LJ move is kinda brilliant in a get-before-you-get-got way.” (Spoiler: It was us.)

Our glasses are 100% feces-free!

That’s when our Twitter DMs lit up. It was Tony, letting us know that we’d nailed his reasoning for the LJ vote. And it’s just walls of text. Textual diarrhea. Tony writes like G.R.R. Martin describes feasts- except that it’s thrilling and amazing and you don’t skip a single word.

Before we get back into Tony’s masterpiece of a game, let’s hit pause on this shit for a second to remember Tony on Twitter (because, for reasons I’ll get into in a bit, you can’t go back and look see what it was like). For a taste of the Tony social media experience, witness Tony’s Fireside Chats, brought to you by Spencer:

Of course, when Tony found out Spencer was sharing his texts on Twitter, Tony decided to lace every future text to Spencer with random profanity. Because there is no game that Tony Vlachos doesn’t win.

But enough with this sideshow shit, let’s get back to (dragon fucker) in-game Tony. From the LJ vote on, he spent the rest of the game flipping back and forth on his alliance. You thought flying under the radar was a good strategy? Tony’s strategy was to wear bright colors and yell “Look out, motherfuckers! INCOMING!” while sprinting straight towards the radar. Tony doesn’t give a fuck about the radar- the man spoke llama to a grown ass woman! (It’s been a clip at the end of our podcast ever since.)

After the season, he gave us an interview. I’ve never talked less on a podcast, and I loved every second of it. He claimed he slept for 2-3 hours a night, which sounded insane. But multiple sources verified this claim, then added that Tony would run off in the middle of the night to talk to his fucking immunity idols. His social game was talking to inanimate objects! He chose to talk to them instead of, say, Morgan- the only inanimate object in Cagayan that actually had a vote at final tribal council.

But since he got his million (I’m sorry, his $500k- fucking New Jersey taxes, amirite?), Tony hasn’t talked much about Survivor– except when he watched Cambodia just so he could taunt Spencer every time the Young Lad fucked up. In fact, in preparation for his season, Tony deleted all of his tweets. Why, you ask? He told Wigler in a preseason interview:

Tony Vlachos (Cagayan): Everybody knows my game. I’m sure when they heard my name in the mix, they went and they researched and listened to my podcasts and know about what I used to do at night while people were sleeping. They’re coming into the game knowing that. And you know what? I did the same thing. I didn’t listen to what they do and I didn’t watch their seasons — I watched mine. I know what they know about me.

And that’s not the only way he prepared for this season. Tony also told Wigler that he ate 200,000 calories to prepare for Survivor. So Tony’s pregame prep was basically throwing on the headphones and listening to himself talk for a few hours while he ate a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. The man is a fucking legend, y’all.

If I were a Survivor producer, I’d ship Tony to Fiji in a giant wooden crate filled with nothing but Red Bull. After 14 cans and 37 straight hours of being awake, Tony would just Hulk-smash his way out of the crate and unleash himself upon pre-game Ponderosa.

It sounds like that’s exactly what happened.

Andrea Boehlke (Redemption Island, Caramoan): Tony is a lunatic. He’s walking around Ponderosa with a big stick and tapping things, and it’s already getting on people’s nerves. It’s thrilling to watch.

Sierra Dawn Thomas (Worlds Apart): Tony scares the crap out of me. First and foremost he’s been scaring me back at Ponderosa, jumping out of the bushes with sticks in the middle of the night. You’ll be walking and he’ll jump out of a bush with a big stick in his hand. One of these times he’s going to get karate chopped.

See, people think Tony is fucking insane- and he is- but he’s insane *with a purpose*. Luckily, I’m the Vlachos whisperer. I’ve cracked the fucking code. You know why he’s tapping on shit with a stick around Ponderosa? So when he does it in the game- because he’s looking for idols- it won’t seem weird and out of place. You know why he’s jumping out of bushes in the middle of the night? To terrify your ass into staying in camp at night while he goes out to look for idols.

Speaking of those idols, Probst says that there might be idols hidden at tribal council this season. Has there ever been a twist more tailor-made for Tony to shine? Someone on his tribe will be yapping away in response to a Probst question and Tony will stand up, start walking around tribal whacking things with his fucking stick he’s been dragging around for days, pretend he’s trying to kill a massive bug with it, and swipe the idol while everyone wonders what the hell is happening. And when it happens I will make sweet love to my TV the way Tony does with his immunity idols, because it will be exactly the sort of greatness I hoped for when Survivor brought Tony back for this season.

“Missed you, boo.”

And we better get greatness. Because if Tony is to be believed, this might be his last shot.

Tony Vlachos (Cagayan): If I lose, I’ll never play again. But if I win! I’ll keep playing until I lose. When I lose, I’m done. Someone outwitted me and outplayed me and I’m not the legend I thought I was, so I’m done. It was a fluke that I won the first time.

Probst and company better start a Kickstarter campaign if this motherfucker doesn’t get that million, because if Survivor is going to go long enough to get us to an all-winners season, that season needs Tony. I don’t give a shit if the man is the first boot in this season; if he is, it’s only because people correctly feared that he would destroy them all. All-winners without Tony is like a Destiny’s Child concert minus Beyoncé. It’s cool that they can sing and all, but I came to see a fucking legend.

Game Changers is giving us a second opportunity to watch one of the kings of Survivor grace our TV screens. And you can gripe and snark about how some of these other clowns aren’t game changers at all- which is true- but don’t let that shit prevent you from appreciating that you’re going to get to enjoy more of the Tony experience. It’s time to hop on the bandwagon again. #TeamTV is back, motherfuckers! We are all witnesses.

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John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He can get loud too, what the fuck!

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cambodia
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422 thoughts on “Survivor Game Changers hype man preview: Tony Vlachos

    1. I spent far too long writing, editing, and re-writing this. I’m still not completely happy with it, but hopefully it conveys at least some of the reasons we should all be excited for the man’s return.

      1. It’s impossible to capture Tony in a single post, I don’t envy you.

        I really liked the part in his interview this year about how he’s going to clone his family into rocks.

        1. Everything he’s said in his interviews has been amazing. He is one of greatest finds in Survivor history.

        2. I looked back at some of our DMs with Tony from Cagayan, and one of the things I said to him at the time was “You and Malcolm are both locks to return for a future season. Start thinking of plans to get out the pretty boy.”

          I can only hope that he lasts long enough to let us see what he came up with.

      2. I’ve been reading and listening to a little too much preseason content and was starting to lose enthusiasm for this season, but this post put me back on the hype train. Thank you

      3. Oh, I’m excited. Just not sure that his antics will keep this group from voting him out at the first opportunity, even with the revote twist.

  1. I love the theory that Tony bugging everyone at Ponderosa is disguising his idol hunt as “Tony being Tony.” This is inspired.

    1. There’s crazy, and then there’s crazy like a fox. Tony is the latter. When we were discussing his plan to vote LJ out in Cagayan, that’s when my entire perspective on how to evaluate Tony changed.

      Most people- including us, at least early on- viewed his game as wild and chaotic. But once I started thinking about what his motivations might have been for some of his moves, I realized that the man is doing almost everything for a reason- even if sometimes his reasons seem curious or weird.

      1. I started to come around when he was lying to Jeremiah. Which was both insane, and also an example of pushing for every edge he could get. And I started to wonder “could this work?”

      2. I have to agree. I think what make’s Tony such an important player is that he played the “1000% all out charge” game of survivor, which gets 99% of people kicked out, but not Tony. He’s probably the only person who can play SO all out that it works for him, while most people trying the same thing get the boot cause they are “playing too hard.”

        I mean, poor Varner was basically given a slap on the wrist for playing too hard, now he has to come back and try NOT to play to hard with, like, the one person for whom that strategy works, lol.

        1. As I said at the time, Tony’s full court press exploited a market inefficiency in Survivor. By that time, people had grown accustomed to sitting back, acquiring shields, and letting the game come to them. So while the rest of the cast was doing that, and thinking that they’d hide behind Tony and let him burn out, he went out and SEIZED the game. Most of them were beaten before they even realized it was too late to start playing.

          And what’s crazy is that I don’t think it would be impossible for Tony to do it again, especially when you consider that the default strategy for many of these players seems to be “find as many shields as possible”.

          1. Well, yeah, i mean, with the exception of, urm, Tony, everyone else HAS to be more defensive. Sandra, Cirie, Aubry, Brad, they are ALL going to be looking for shields and other people to punt on to protect themselves as big targets. Which plays well to Tony’s game of being a target that everyone assumes will burn out but instead just keeps rampaging.

            My only hesitation is that, a KEY element of Tony’s game is Idols. He needs them, or the appearance of them, as a central tool in how he plays his game (or at least, how he played it in CAGAYAN). I would guess that his ability to last in the pre-merge is going to be directly related to how quickly he can find an idol. That being said, few people have ever been as successful in finding idols, so i’m not saying his chances are low, lol

          2. Malcolm has found as many idols as Tony has, and they are both on the same tribe. That could be trouble.

          3. Right, i just feel like Tony’s idol finds seemed far more ‘this man is an idol machine’ than Malcolm. But that could also be the edit: If Tony was the only one really looking, which is what the edit seems to suggest, versus everyone else is also searching but Tony is better. Would make sense to ignore others looking if Tony finds most of them.

            Maybe because Tony is known so much for having been idol-strong, others, like Malcolm, will be out for the idol immediately. Would be fun to see an episode 1 idol scramble.

          4. I am compelled to point out my favorite HII stat though, which is that 6 idols were found in Cagayan, and they collectively negated 0 votes. If Tony finds idols, he *has* to play them correctly. Others sometimes can use them to preemptively ward off votes or pull in allies, but neither will work for Tony.

          5. That is such a great stat. I agree, if he does get the idols, its going to be very interesting to see how he uses them and how others respond. If he shows them off like in Cagayan, I could totally see someone like Sandra calling his bluff while using it to blindside someone else she wants out.

  2. I so badly want there to be a scene where Tony is building his spy shack/bunker and Sandra is in the bushes somewhere just being like “that stupid motherfucker.” That alone will validate the entire season.

    As for Tony’s chances in the game. I fear he may have come back too soon. His hundred miles per second game is so memorable and so impactful in the modern game of Survivor. He can’t help be the biggest target out there. I want him to get far and I’ll be ecstatic to be wrong here but…

    My Prediction: Pre Merge Boot

    Previous Predictions
    Pre Merge Boots
    Debbie (They can just leave her at Ponderosa)

    Post Merge Boots

    Final Boot



    1. It’s too bad that Tony and Sandra seem to be gunning for each other in the pre-game. I would LIVE if they went to end and burned absolutely everyone else along the way.

      1. That would be great. I want a working antagonistic relationship that would be the best version of what Sandra had in the past with Fairplay and Russell.

        1. Part of the problem is that Tony needs a grounding agent like Trish, and I doubt Sandra can/will be that person. On this season and on his tribe, I see (spoilers on tribe divisions, if you’re trying to keep clean on that) Zeke and Aubry, respectively as the most likely to step up to do that. But even with Aubry, she clipped Debbie for being too messy of a player. All this would only seem to point to a fantastic implosion by Tony, and we know how that went last time. I’m excited.

          1. I’ve thought about the idea of Aubry and Tony working together. I think it’s a good match and beneficial for both to work together as the big targets they are. I agree with you though that Aubry probably wouldn’t want to.

          2. I dunno, maybe I’m extrapolating too much from that one photo of Aubry and Tony giving dap, but Aubry’s downfall in KR was due in part to her not having strong connections with the jury, and playing New Trish would give her an excuse for one-on-one time with people who are not necessarily her allies.

        2. Would a fight between Sandra and Tony not be the most awesome thing that ever happened on Survivor? They could make a whole episode out of it. Then, of course, they vote together at the end of it

      2. I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole Dalton who you gonna target first stuff. For most players (the good ones anyway), they don’t focus too hard on who they’re going to vote out until they get out there and see how everything shakes out.

      1. I’m sorry. I don’t want it to happen. If I was predicting based on want, it would be a final seven with Tony, Cirie, Sandra, Aubry, Malcolm, Andrea and either Michaela or Ciera. I got to try my best to be accurate though. I can get something British from Kemper as a prize if I’m right. There are stakes to this now.

        1. That final 7 with Michaela would be like, getting a puppy on Christmas morning. Like, kids getting told they are going to DisneyWorld and just screaming till they pass out…

        2. I want nothing more than an all-threats alliance but unfortunately, they are threats because they aren’t stupid, and will use pawns to make moves against each other

          1. But if the pawns have numbers at the merge and refuse to work with the threats, the threats wouldn’t have a choice but to form an alliance, right? Damn, it would simultaneously be the strongest alliance ever and make Casaya look as harmonious as a barbershop quartet.

          2. Can you imagine? The interpersonal conflict between that group while voting together and maneuvering against each other? As Side Character said above, they may have to retire Survivor afterwords, because it could never be topped

        3. If this actually happened, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything Survivor-related (past, present or future) that would ever top that.

    2. My issue with Tony on this season is that he is either the first or second biggest player of the season. I think we might see a Redemption Island repeat with his tribe getting rid of him as soon as possible. His game stay will depend entirely on getting idols quickly. I am not sure he is able to do that. I think he is a pre-merge boot.

  3. I want all of your predictions here to come true.
    Also, I like how Andrea is thrilled by Tony. She should be. They all should be.

  4. I’m wondering if production could pull 20 winners together without TV. I would bet against Todd, Ethan, Vecepia, Brian, and Jenna coming back. I’m not positive production would want Fabio, Natalie White, or Bob back. Yul seems to always have a conflict. And only one of BRob and Amber can play. That drops you to just above 20 winners, and while there would likely be 7 more added before an All-Winners season, there are going to be people who don’t want to go back out on the island. I’m wondering if All-Winners will forever be a pipe dream.

    1. I think All Winners will forever be a pipe dream. I do think it’s very possible to get a tribe of 10 winners on a season.

          1. I was thinking that too. I’m not sure Tom would come back either. These are big names that need to be included in an All Winners season.

          2. If we get to the point where any one of Hatch, Tina, and Tom are out and where Denise is a maybe, it’s not worth doing imo. And all of them are important to have, but Hatch is the big one that must be on any All-Winners season. If they try to do this for S40 as another milestone, Hatch, Tina, and Tom will each be around 60. (Though could easily outperform Joe Del Campo)

          3. I think Tom is out, period. I’ve heard that he’s had health issues. (Although the sourcing for that is not necessarily reputable).

          4. I think after HvV he realised he was just not the physical beast he was and doesn’t want to suffer it anymore either.

          5. A couple of things: 1) the buoy challenge with Ian did some long term damage to his feet (Ian had issues too). 2) The rumour I heard is that he’s had some respiratory issues from firefighting. I don’t think anything life-threatening, but certainly enough to prevent him from competing.

          6. He’s also now older than Bob was when he won and Bob was very much an asterisked winner. The next oldest winner was in her early 40’s.

          7. And this conversation alone shows that Probst might not be bullshitting when he says that it’s hard to come up with a cast of winners who are available to come back.

            Hell, just look at this season when Natalie Anderson dropped out at the last minute and Earl (allegedly) had to drop out due to work commitments.

          8. Do we know if Tony was cast to replace Earl as a male winner? Because if Earl has stayed on, Tony would have more time off between Cagayan and whenever he returned, which would have set up his second game so wondrously.

          9. I doubt it. I imagine a non-winner took his spot.

            EDIT TO ADD: I don’t think they were far enough along into casting when he dropped out for there have been a spot to take.

          10. I imagine it’s a lot easier to blow off your job to play Survivor when you’re 23-27 after that it can become way more dicey. You need to be self employed or so valuable that they’ll say yes.

          11. That’s what I heard too (probably from you), it makes me worried a little bit about her Survivor future.

      1. I think those who would say yes are Hatch, Tina, Sandra, Danni JT, Parvati, Rob, then a load of new school winners who are still young and raring to go. I think Denise would go for an All Winner’s season. But you probably won’t get Kim while her kids are too young and frankly Kim is my dealbreaker on an All Winner’s Season, no Kim and it can’t happen.

        1. I think Jenna has said she would play again in that scenario. Whether she would be on the top 10 female winner list is another question

          1. The female players which production would probably want are:

            Natalie A

            It’s eight winners and the only one that I could see declining is Parvati, so that leaves 3 to 2 open slots (I wouldn’t probably say before that Danni and Sophie belong to that list but with them being rumored for GC it shows that production likes them enough to being considered again). I do think that production would at least consider Jenna as a filler in that group cause of how she went out last time (I know that it’s still not the end so new female winners may probably get added but I do think if they want a “lower” tier to be on that season they will probably choose her before Amber, Natalie W and Michele).

          2. She was still in contention of being in this season, and while she probably isn’t THE person they wouldn’t do an all-winners season without, they would still probably rather have her than for instance Natalie W or Michele. And she has an underdog story from her season which the only people who had one are Chris, Denise and Mike (and they won’t bring Chris back). And who knows, maybe she promised production that she wouldn’t hide stuff from next time so that is the reason she was considered.

          3. Another issue is that as of right now, there are only 13 female winners (that may change if they choose to do this at 40, but we’ll see). There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to eliminating anyone. If they take out Amber, Natalie White and Michele, they have to literally choose the rest of the female winners (and I’m guessing that Jenna and Vecepia are not exactly high up on production’s casting choices). If you don’t have 10 female winners willing to play again (or 10 that production wants), it won’t happen. If 4 of them aren’t in, it can’t happen.

          4. That’s exactly why probably if there will be an all-winners season it won’t be now, but I just tried giving this hypothetical scenario of how can Jenna get into this sesason (and if I’m correct Jeff did say somewhere that he doesn’t mind bringing her back or at least the most from the quiters.

        2. I can reluctantly accept that Tom couldn’t play again, but I’m with you about Kim. She needs to be there for the season to make sense. That is another thing. It’s not just about getting any 18 or 20 but you need to have some of the widely considered best winners to have ever played.

          1. I’d say there’s a handful of players whose absence would invalidate the season:
            Hatch, Rob, Parv, Sandra, Kim, Tony

            That’s my list.

          2. Counterpoint: (and I’m not being sarcastic this time) without the Bobs/Fabios/Natalies on an All-Winner season, do we run the risk of an All-Winners season getting the “too gamebot-ty” critique? I’ve seen that used to invalidate Cambodia, and I think All-Winners ought to be praised across the board.

            Guess if this is an issue, it’s damned if you, damned if you don’t.

          3. I think the best way to do it to find a mix of characters. The six Andy mentioned are different enough to give the season some variety. I would welcome some of the lesser regarded or forgotten winners onto this season. I think the idea of them proving themselves to be named one of the greatest is a story worth exploring. Also, definitely needs to be a mix between old and new school players.

          4. Understand, I’d also like a smattering of the lower tier winners in their as well. It just doesn’t particularly matter which of them do the smattering.

          5. I think it might invalidate it as the ultimate season of Survivor, but it’d still be worth having a season.

          6. They could get some low level winners. Mike and Michele would 100% go. But a winner is a winner. People didn’t always think Sandra is a queen!

          7. I don’t think see a Probst-dominated Production letting Michele back any time soon (especially after the BvW Colton fiasco). Mike was cut from Game Changers, so he is still in play.

          8. FWIW, I’d be all for Michele to return in such a season.

            And to be a nothing player who does nothing and is eliminated in non-dramatic fashion.

          9. HEY! Danielle was a nothing player eliminated in dramatic fashion.

            Which is part of why HvV is so highly rated. Even most of the bland figures were dramatic boots.

          10. The difference is that Danielle didn’t have a growing group of defenders who I need to see their new hero fail.

          11. Are the Michelle people the same as the SJDS people? I’m going to assume yes to put my disgust all in one basket.

          12. I agree. A mix of both would be great. Also people are entitled to their opinion on Sandra, but they’re wrong if they can’t recognize the glory of Sandra right in front of them.

          13. I recently rewatched the Pearl Islands premiere again for my Top 10 episodes list (that I’m slowly working on) and the bartering scene is such a great showcase for why Sandra is amazing.

          14. “I think she liked her you know in a sexual way” is a fantastic intro line to Sandra and her dry sense of humour.

          15. I like the very first thing we hear her say. “He says, ‘The game starts, you’re taking nothing…’ I was like ‘Oh shit.'” First confessional of the season, too.

          16. Sandra gives amazing confessional. Her style is completely unique in all seasons of Survivor. She does this first person “and I was like” thing that suits her so well. God I love Sandra.

    2. I’d love to see some other iterations of “all-*this*” seasons. Like, all
      first-boots, all pre-merge loosers, all FTC runners up.

      I’m not sure
      it’s a forever pipe dream, but it definitely would be a difficult thing
      to coordinate. Like everyone is saying, you have issues with age and availability, plus I think there are definitely a lot of earlier players who may not be in ANY way interested in playing now since the game has changed so much. Imagine you are one of the season 1 people who had trouble with the “ethics” of creating an alliance, playing against modern backstabbers, lol.

      1. They have options if they don’t mind mixing and matching. One season where one tribe is first boots, one tribe is post-merge, one tribe is winners. Or one tribe is FTC losers, or pre-merge. Wouldn’t be that difficult.

        1. This is true. The real hard part would be giving the theme a name that isn’t degrading to half of the cast.

    3. I’d be more than thrilled with winners vs. runners up, or even winners vs. runners up vs. didn’t quite make finals.
      But I think if they pull the trigger on one of those, then we have to officially say goodbye to the dream of ever seeing the mythical all winners season.

  5. Hey everyone, I know it seems like you’ve been seeing these comments every post. And you have. But I have to advertise the PRP Fantasy Baseball League because Tony’s coverage will probably get the most views of the remaining players (and it should btw). Right now we have seven players (Alkannara, Andy, Assistant Dragon Slayer, Black Dynamite, corndogshuffle, Kemper Boyd, and myself) and three people who are on the fence (EmandScoutInBK, Emma, and Gouis). But we’re looking for at least 12, which means there’s a slot for you, dear reader! And if you’re not quite sure if you should join or not, I guarantee you, you should. Especially since you’ll be able to say that you were there before all the casuals who come out of the woodwork for the premiere post (Well, maybe they’re not casuals if they’re at PRP, but you get it).

      1. Oh, I missed that. Hooray! for more people, but Shame for not committing. Make a move, people!

        Ciera Eastin gif I do not have

          1. Hopefully everyone else in the league sees this and can sound off, but do we want a max on the league size? We’re probably going to hit 12, but if we go over, I don’t want to turn people away.

          2. I haven’t even thought about a max number. I’ve been pleasently surprised and super excited that we’ve gotten such quick responses to this. I play in a 14 team league and I can say based off that, 12 is the perfect number.

          3. Since we’re going to have some inexperienced players, forcing them to search out platooning OFers to fill out their rosters is a bit much.

          4. Agreed. I’ve had fun in a 14 team league but that was after a few years of playing. 12 is perfect for newcomers to really get the positive experience in Fantasy.

          5. I’d be fine with up to 14, but above that and a serious injury to one of your key players basically kills your chance of recovery.

          6. You can absolutely turn me away. I’m just here if you get desperate.

            It’s the part I was born to play, baby!

    1. So we’re now at 10 (roll call: @Alkanarra:disqus, @purplerockandy:disqus, @AssistantDragonSlayer:disqus, @disqus_3Sm0bOf1sj:disqus, @corndogshuffle, @DiegoArmando @disqus_ElVNslb5Zh:disqus, @disqus_R9cNRvxsfG:disqus, @otherscott:disqus), and others are confirming what I was hesitant to say before: there’s a significant chance we cap at twelve. So there may only be two slots left! That means if you’re thinking about joining, now’s the time to do so.

      Also, for everyone I tagged, I’m going to need a way to get your emails so I can send out the survey which will help set up the league. Because Disqus dissuqs, this might end up being a PM on twitter, but if you can think of a better way, I’d be glad to do it. I could also just post a public link in one of these comments, but I would like to keep it in-house if at all possible.

  6. Note: For the first dozen draws or so, Tony was in the Roulette game. And no one ever drew him.

    So once we decided to cover everybody (oh yeah, note: we’ve decided to cover everybody), we took Tony and Troy’s name out of contention since John was already planning posts of them. So now we’ll have all 20 people covered by a post this preseason, but no full on game analysis of Tony and Troy.

    So if you want to discuss his best/worst/most likely chances, this post is also the place to do it.

      1. Best Case Scenario: Troy is out quickly and embarrassingly

        Worst Case Scenario: Troy gets a lot of camera time

        Most likely Scenario: Nothing Troy does on this season will have the impact he thinks it will. He’ll just play the role as the male number they needed to get to 10.

        1. To clarify, the best case for Troy is that he gets the Vytas edit by making Hali and Ciera uncomfortable. He goes first but also leaves no doubt as to whether he’s a terrible person. It’s unfortunate that others must sacrifice for this to happen, but it is for the greater good.

          1. I was goning to say best case is he gets med-evaced at the marooning by like, smashing his stupid face open or something and is gone in less than 15 mins, but then they’d feel like they had to bring him back again, so yours works better

        2. Damn, what have I done? I was joking!

          But since you went there, I co-sign if he’s the same old Troyzan, but I have him in the top 5 of players most likely to play a different game this time (the others: Brad, Hali, Caleb, and FFSDT).

    1. Best case for Tony: Each tribe he’s on is full of challenge monsters and never goes to tribal pre-merge. All the while, he’s collecting idols (though not necessarily allies), and he utilizes timely Immunity wins, idols, and other threats to make it to the F4 with Ciera, Sierra, and Troyzan. Ciera and Troy plan to vote Tony, but Troy confuses his own name with Tony’s, and votes for himself. Tony squeaks into F3 by one vote, and wins the jury vote unanimously.

      Worst Case for Tony: He trips in the first challenge and is med-evaced.

      EDIT: I wanted to make Troyzan misspell Ciera/Sierra and have this put Tony in the final, but I couldn’t finagle that plot to make it work. Though if I could bend the rules of logic, this is how it would go.

    2. Best Case for Tony: He does a bunch of random crazy shit that distracts people from how dangerous he is, 10% of it works, and 10% of THAT is actually helpful and he wins.

      Worst Case for Tony: Tony’s tribe watched Cagayan. Tony’s tribe realizes that Tony is a dangerous enemy…and an even more dangerous ally. Tony’s tribe votes him off first unanimously, except for a throw away vote to counter an idol (which, of course, Tony is bluffing hard).

      Most Likely Case for Tony: Tony’s challenge prowess, camp energy, and the delusion of people who think they can use Tony as a shield carrries him to around the merge. At which point one of Tony’s overly elaborate plan backfires, and he directly leads to his own demise, in a JT/Tyson in HvV sense. Tony’s boot episode is the best episode of the season.

    3. I just realized that with covering one person every (week)day, the last person will be covered the day before the season starts (which, holy crap, a new season of Survivor is next Wednesday). Perfect timing. Coincidence? I think not.

  7. I have only one thing to say.

    I’m REALLY regretting taking Caleb over Tony in One on One league I’m taking part in on this website. Even if all logic says that he should be a first boot, I just can’t ever count him out. The least I’m hoping for is that he will find an idol or does something crazy and he gets past his first Tribal Council.

  8. Upcoming Tony Soundbite: “I swear on my mother, on my daughter, i swear on my sister, my father, my wife. I swear on my badge, my honor, my family, i swear on my father’s grave, on my brother’s grave, on my life, on my heart, i swear on my, on my, i swear, i swear on my, i swear, i swear, I, I, I, swear, Sah-WEAR”

  9. Tony is good television. I will not be surprised when the clue to the first hidden immunity idol is stuffed in his shoe so that no one else can find it. Let’s not pretend for a second that production won’t use their influence to keep this guy around.

  10. If listening to podcasts and eating ridiculous amounts of calories per day is Survivor prep, then I am also prepping for Survivor.

  11. This article is such a good depiction of Tony’s game that it legitimately gave me anxiety to read it. Tony is one of the few players this season who has actually fully earned the Game Changer title, but I also think that those players are probably at the most risk of being eliminated early. Tony has been my pick for first boot if his tribe loses, but I also think there’s a chance that he could cause enough chaos to sneak through a few rounds through sheer will. I think the biggest weakness for him this time around is that no one will want to work with him because he’s such a wildcard.

  12. I am so excited for Tony’s return. Even though I was rooting against him the first time (huge Spencer fan) once the beauty of his game became apparent, it was hard not to thoroughly appreciate it. I’m fascinated to see if he can get away with it against a bunch of returnees

  13. I’d say this post is a work of art, but then again I don’t really understand art. Art is fucking weird.

    I’m so excited to have Tony back on my screen.

    1. I mean, I don’t really understand Tony. Tony is fucking weird.

      I’m so excited to have the art of Tony back on my screen.

  14. Just wanted to check in and say this is a masterpiece by John. Killer write up.

    “Look out, motherfuckers! INCOMING!”

        1. So do you not like American football either? Did you hate hockey until like 2005 (unless you’ve always hated it)?

          1. To be fair, a lot of Americans hated that college football could end in ties. And the changes college football made to the rules for overtime are far more exciting than a tie.

    1. Whoa. I’ll have to ponder the implications some, but first impressions:

      1. With players playing ever more strategic and complicated games, they’re having to cram more and more stuff into 43 minutes. This eliminates the most time-consuming and least interesting part of a tie vote.

      2. This makes it much riskier to split the vote in the first place.

      1. If it’s riskier to split, then they would need to direct the vote to the least likely player (a la Cagayan merge). Then the UTR players could get bounced by this mechanic and the twist most benefits threats with idols (e.g. Tony and Malcolm). I’m interested until this bounces Sandra, then this will be worse than the Tyler Perry idol Medallion of Power.

      2. Now that I’ve actually read to the end and watched the video.

        3. Does this give too much power to minority alliances forcing ties because YOLO, and will this lead to too many rock draws?

        4. I think Tai’s been working out!

        1. This worries me too. Part of the awesomeness of the rock draw is 3 times in 33 seasons. I fear getting 1-2 a season will kill the enjoyment/intrigue. But if it leads to new strategies, it should be fine

        2. I think that the most likely outcome is that it will make vote splits nonviable for all but the most extreme vote differences. Before, if the minority alliance had 3 people, you needed 6 to split the vote. Now, you need 8. (Considering that there is an idol, but naturally if you are sure there isn’t, there is no point splitting votes in the first place.) That is a huge difference. A 4-people minority alliance basically forbids splitting, as it would require 10 people in the majority alliance, and 14 people tribes never happened before.

          So, all in all, this change makes HII way stronger. Now, a minority alliance having an idol makes them almost sure to get at least to rocks, making it very likely for a member of the larger alliance to be voted off.

    2. I’m a little sad that we already recorded our podcast.

      The biggest thing I think this does is restore the power of regular idols (and thus hopefully eliminates the desire to create MORE powerful idols). Because beating them had become more easy for majorities through vote splits.

      Now, vote splits can still happen, but they can’t be splits that result in a tie. So if it’s a 3-3-3, the majority can’t guarantee their second choice will go home if the idol is played. If it isn’t, one of their people will be on the line.

      I’m interested to see if/how this plays out. I’m guessing it’ll lead to more strategy discussions at the very least.

      1. No. Because if you split 3-3 against a 3 then you have to get two people in a minority alliance after an idol to avoid rocks and why would they? If I had a 2/3 shot at staying and it being an enemy I’d risk it.

    3. I dunno, man, this kinda makes idols super powerful. If only Cao Boi were here to find another loophole in the system.

    4. Wow. My first instinct is that this is a bad change. A lot of the more interesting vote configurations only come to pass because the majority knows it can reset in case of a tie.

      This makes the game less about juggling votes, and much more a shall game about correctly identifying the right targets. That strikes me as much less interesting.

      But…I do like throwing basic Survivor strategy into chaos in a season with people like Tony who will rapidly innovate around the twist.

      1. I don’t like it either. Here’s an example:

        6-person majority, 2-person minority. Minority has the idol.

        If you go 3-3 split and they *don’t* play the idol, it’s a tie and you’re going to rocks.
        If you go a 4-2 split and they play the idol for the 4-vote person, it’s a tie and you’re going to rocks.

        And they can keep doing this week after week until it’s final five. You either take a risk and flush it or refuse to target them. Good TV, but kinda stinks from a gameplay perspective.

        1. You can still go 3-3 in that scenario, because they still are giving the chance for a unanimous decision, so as long as your 6 majority is all on the same page, you pick who you want gone

          1. But it’s a unanimous decision at that point. Why, if I’m in the minority, would I go along with it? I’d just go to rocks. Or do the votee’s still not get a voice on the revote?

          2. Then… OK, I might not have a problem if that’s the case. I suppose in a Witches’ Coven situation it would apply (not enough votes to split three ways, so the third person could still vote for rocks), but that’s more palatable.

          3. Right. At unanimous decisions, the votee’s don’t get a vote (i.e. Kimmi and Tasha were not part of the unanimous agreement at Cambodia F6…Jeff asked Spencer, Jeremy, Kelley, and Keith)

          4. So I think what we’re learning is that a 3-3-2 split would still work…but a 3-3-3 split (without a correctly played majority idol) wouldn’t, so long as the person on the bottom who isn’t targeted is willing to go to rocks..

          5. Yes, and this is something not being totally considered. The other people in the minority have to go along with a rock draw too, rather than guarantee themselves one more vote and work to shift the alliances/voting blocs/trust clusters

          6. OK. So a three-person minority is still dangerous if they guess the vote split correctly *and* their third member is willing to go to rocks, but that I can handle since it gives the minority some breathing room without making them invincible. I’m less concerned about this now.

          7. The minority doesn’t need to guess the vote split correctly- a six-person-against-three majority split can only knock two people on the bottom out of the unanimous decision.So that third minority member who receives no votes can force rocks, with a 20% chance of going home, and an 80% chance of knocking off one of the majority (assuming one of the majority has immunity).

            I think?

          8. No, because if they play an idol on themselves in a 3-3-2, the vote becomes 3-2 and their partner goes out. There wouldn’t be a revote.

          9. See how much we’re scrambling right now. Just imagine you’re wrangling a vote, trying to figure this out, and you’ve got an Abi-Maria on your tribe. I’ve come around: it will absolutely make good TV.

          10. Same here. I still fell like once the dust settles on the new rules they will lead to less interesting strategy…but for at least one season the scrambling and theorizing is going to lead to some great moments.

          11. A fun thing that could happen in that scenario: someone in the majority 6 knows they are at the bottom, and they’ve won immunity. So they force the tie with everyone, then refuse to come to a unanimous vote, guaranteeing one of the majority five goes home via rock draw.

            (I’m not sure exactly why someone would do this, but it would be aweome).

          12. Stop, I can only get so erect.

            This would be a fantastic move and whoever did this would probably get invited back by Jeff in every returnee season.

          13. Man, the game theory here.

            3-3-3 split, the play is not to play your idol because now you are immune from the rock draw AND still have your idol. This still hinges on trusting your third to go to rocks though

          14. Then you have a possible scenario where 6-3 majority with the third member of the minority having individual immunity, and the majority not able to split because member 3 of the minority don’t give a shit about rocks.

          15. Or if they aren’t, as I think about this instead of working, if you know who the vote will be split on, play your idol on the third member and get the same result

          16. I thiiiiink you get the same result no matter who you play the idol on. If a player idols off votes, I believe they get to participate in the unanimity discussion (See Jeremy and Wentworth in Cambodia).

            Basically, a 3-3-3 split does not work.

            I’m hoping I have now guaranteed at least one 3-3-3 split is successfully executed.

          17. You are correct, but here’s what I’m seeing: 3-3-3, you know the split, play your idol on a third, none of the minority is eligible draw rocks and one of the majority has to go home, either by agreement or rock draw. Its a risky play, but you could use it to pull a low totem pole member over or just surprise the majority and try to expose divisions

          18. But why would the majority try to execute a 3-3-3 split, given it can be defeated by an idol play? I think that a 6-3 division just leads to a roll of the dice against a single target under the new rules.

          19. They probably wouldn’t intentionally, but someone could flip to create this scenario. I agree with you that if it’s 6-3 you just have to go for it and hope for the best. Mostly I’m just gaming things out to figure out the mechanics of the new rule

          20. I meant “guess the split correctly” in that they *do* think they’re a split and they don’t play the idol. ’cause if they play the idol on one of the split-vote-getters, the other goes home.

            Yeah, I’m fine with this, at least until I see it play out.

          21. That *and* has some interesting implications. Like the third wheel in the minority could have an incentive to double-cross the other two and flip if the majority has a clear 3-3 rift. They wouldn’t flip just become the bottom of a 7-person majority, but they might if they became the swing vote next time.

    5. I really like this! The whole Plan Voodoo™ thing was really starting to feel tired so I hope that this is the shot in the arm that is able to bring some life back into idols without making them over powered.

      1. This is where I’m at. For a lot of players, if they were too down in numbers, an idol wasn’t going to help them much because the majority could just do a simple vote split. So the idol wasn’t a big deal.

        Now, majorities will have to do more complicated vote splits or alternative strategies to beat the idol (and rest assured to everyone fretting that the idol is now unbeatable, there are and will be alternative strategies). More complicated strategies are more interesting and have more points of failure, which is also more interesting.

      2. I’m conflicted because I love the game theory of the guessing and double guessing of who to vote for and who to put the idol on. But we’ll see how it goes because the idea of even more indecision at tribal and more rocks.

    6. Oh, and why I hijacked this thread by posting it here: voting for Tony just got THAT much scarier, huh?

      1. The corollary: The chances of Tony just wearing the idol around his neck at camp and flipping the double birds to everybody just increased.

    7. Woah. They’re really trying to get people to stop splitting the vote, it sounds like. I’m down – it’s become such a go-to strategy I’m willing to see it get mixed up a little bit.

      1. If anything, i think the hope is to make Idol’s actually do something a bit more often, lol. I mean, i think of the amount of times in the past few seasons that idols have been played and resulted in no change to the vote. This includes vote splits, but also people using them unnecessarily, or them not being used at all because the threat was enough.

        I’d say, players have gotten so used to idols that they’ve almost been over-accounted for, and now aren’t much of a threat within a quality, strategic game. This will certainly increase the danger element of idols.

    8. Slightly off topic, but I just want to add, based on that clip they put in there…hey, when has digging for puzzle pieces in the sand ever been a bad idea for a challenge?

      1. It’s the immunity challenge from episode 1 of Blood vs. Water (that Brad Culpepper research is paying dividends already!). Except they added the digging for puzzle pieces element (in BvW the obstacle course was out to the boats, which had the puzzle pieces in it). I think that’s proof positive that they’re trolling the Kaoh Rongers.

        1. Also, that immunity idol obvious has something inside it, right? Like maybe an individual II?

    9. I think this is absolutely the right season to premiere this. You have a lot of people playing strategy, and we haven’t seen much of how it works to convince everyone on the other side to switch their votes. I love this, and I hope we see it play out multiple times. And I bet Cirie already has a plan for how to split the votes around it before they even finish the challenge where he explained it.

      1. This reminds me of a time a friend of mine tried to quote the Simpsons and said “My eyes! The goggles don’t do anything.”

        We’re no longer friends.

        1. An old coworker once attempted to quote Mean Girls by saying, “I will keep you here until 4:00 because I can’t keep you here all night,” and it just made me so sad.

          1. I rarely quote anything outside of Pulp Fiction or Black Dynamite (the movie) out of fear of embarrassing myself. I enjoy too many things to them injustice.

          2. “I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass two years”

            Funny story, i was once asked what my favorite movie was, i hemmed and hawed and tried to think through the question and was debating between a few and talking out loud and my best friend cuts in and goes “his favorite movie is Pulp Fiction.” I was like oh right, yeah that is probably true

          1. Yes, it’s the one that says “Everything you saw in the first movie, forget it. They’re aliens from another planet.”

          2. The Highlander helped create a dome that covers the Earth (Stephen King didn’t just steal from The Simpsons Movie for Under the Dome) to keep out radiation. Because that flows naturally from the first movie’s story.

            There are also hoverboards! The film came out in 1991 – they missed creating them by 2 years (“Curse you, BTTF Part 2!”)

          3. You really think this is funny? Very very very very very very very very very very very mature.

          4. You really think this is funny? Very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very mature.

          5. You really think this is funny? Very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very mature.

    1. The third best thing after going to rocks and her major eye roll game. Great answer though. She is our one true Ciera/Sierra.

      1. I mostly appreciate this because she realizes how stupid it is to ask who they’re going for before the game has even begun and just makes a joke out of it.

        1. Oh I didn’t forget. That was awesome and yet another thing to be mentioned before the mom thing.

          1. For as much as Ciera is Big Moves McGee, her best moves are almost always the subtle moves. Playing Katie. Getting Katie to vote with her against John in the chances that he gave his idol to Rachel. Kinda sorta forcing Fishbach to call his shot with Wiglesworth so she could say that she had no control in that decision.

          2. Her constant pleads for big moves may have been her lasting impression in Cambodia but she was doing a decent job playing from the bottom before she got idoled out.

          3. Absolutely, I fully agreed with her moving on his side and letting Abi call the shot on Woo as well. Once someone puts you in the position to be the decoy like that, it says a lot about what they think of you as an ally. The Ciera in Blood vs Water may not have moved as quickly after getting that information.

    2. I’d like a Highlander version of Survivor where it’s just a bunch of people with the same first name playing, and they all keep saying “there can be only one.” Maybe they could cast a show all of people named Jeff, and then winner is Top Jeff.

      1. Rob C always jokes about having “Survivor Robs vs. Johns” as there is basically enough returning players to cast it.

          1. Nothing will ever make me harper in Survivor than the concept that the idea that the firSt reward is winner chooses between Bobby jon and Jean Robert.

          2. Wouldn’t the reward for winning the challenge be that the other tribe gets Bobby Jon and Jean-Robert?

          3. Look, absorbing Bobby John is a small price to make a bunch of other people have to live with Jean-Robert.

          1. I think she will play again. I can see why production likes her. I just think you can find her comp that isn’t as much of an asshole.

          2. As someone who just watched Philippines for the first time…what is the case that RC is an asshole?

            Is it extratextual?

            Because on the show, her role was pretty much being a reasonably nice but not shockingly interesting player…who Abi decided to destroy.

          3. to be fair she is Jewish. We work the Holocaust into everything. Don’t you watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?

          4. Also, for those with kids (like me), the actor who plays Greg was the voice of “Hans” in Frozen. Once you hear it, you can’t un-hear it

          5. After we finish your Survivor homework, I’ll get you hooked on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Rachel Bloom is my idol.

          6. I just got into this show last month when we finally cut cable and got Netflix and I just finished binge-watching season 2!

            And I have been making random family and friends listen to songs from it.

          7. I’m here. I will spend lots of time researching this topic and getting back to everyone with rankings.

    1. I was surprised my Sarah post got as many comments as it did, even after you remove the ones that was just about my avatar.

      1. I think the biggest one left would be Aubry, though I imagine the FFSDT comments section would be wild for different reasons.

        1. I am trying to think who is left:
          Aubry, Michaela, FFSDT, Ciera (who I could see generating a lot of discussing), and JT (who could have a lot of discussion).
          Did I miss anyone?

          1. That’s not fair to Ciera. I actually wanted her the most (besides Aubry) when I was asked to participate in Roulette. I think she is an interesting player to discuss.

          2. It also isn’t very fair to FFSDT who is very… oh wait Kemper already mentioned she is tall. never mind then. carry on.

          3. I understood the frustration too. The majority was a 9 person alliance. That was a ridiculously huge number to fight against.

          4. But Ciera’s didn’t see how a lot of those people in that 9 person alliance was motivated by proving their loyalty. Stephen, Keith, Joe, Tasha, Wiglesworth and Savage all wanted to show that they were loyal to their Bayon Bros.

            In essence, making a big move went against how they play/played Survivor

          5. That’s a fair point about those players. If anything, that would only add to Ciera’s frustration. You’re in a shitty position and no matter how much want to make your point, it’s going to fail going against those players. Was her “big moves” mantra out of touch with these people? Yeah, probably. I get where she is coming from though. That’s not to say she played it the right way and they were in the wrong for not following her words, but I get that frustration.

          1. Same here. Depending on how far she goes this season, it would be me mentioning Hannah last season but on steroids.

          1. Absolutely, JT’s post is going to lead to a lot of discussion. I maintain that Aubry will generate the most talk, but both are definitely the biggest names left.

      2. He was available! I didn’t take him out until we’d already done at least half the cast. But I’d obviously always planned to write this post regardless.

          1. Yeah, in a way it was liberating to have a low-stakes Game Changer. I would have felt paralyzed with the responsibility of writing about say, Cirie or Sandra, for my first-ever PRP post.

    2. If it makes you feel any better, the post with the least amount of comments, by a substantial margin, was my post on Varner.

        1. For sure, the comments have been building on each post as we draw closer to the season. I’m not offended.

          1. Genuinely, it indicates how well you folks have been building up excitement with the whole series of run-up posts.

          2. I think expanding it has been great. And I’m not just saying that because I actually got to write a post. The coverage here has gotten me more excited for Survivor than ever before.

          3. here here

            Also, as a newer poster, it has been an amazing opportunity to get more involved in the community.

          4. You’ll soon regret joining my fantasy league. I’m so humble and kind it’s almost insufferable.

          5. I totally agree! The last few weeks before a new season begins are when I’m most excited to read all the info I can on Survivor and comment like crazy about it, so it’s been really great to be able to come check in each day to see what everyone is talking about 🙂
            I didn’t really get back in the habit of coming here daily until maybe the Sandra post, so I missed my opportunity to really weigh in on the first 4 or so players, so I need to go catch up on those as well.
            It helps a lot that it’s a returning player season, because there’s a lot more material for us to work with. But I still hope that the community here is this active in the lead up to the fall season as well XD

          6. I love talking about new player seasons before they start. Although there’s usually some trepidation, in a “What if I hate everyone?” sort of way, but it’s usually a good time.

          7. Agreed! The excitement for the season has kind of crept up on me because of the delay (and being busy elsewhere), but I’m fast getting back into it all again.

      1. This seems like a crime. I know I bumped up the Debbie comments by replying a lot, but Varner should have more than Debbie for sure.

        1. We don’t get petty about comment totals around here. Especially not me, whose Tony post got exponentially higher comments than Andy’s post. Bragging about how my post inspired greater discussion by orders of magnitude over Andy’s would just be uncouth.

          1. The smartest, funniest, most humble, and best Fantasy Baseball league of all time. Gotta stay on brand.

          2. It’s incredibly fitting that Wigler revealed that on the day of my Tony post, because I think Tony is easily the player that twist helps the most.

          3. Right. But in that scenario, I’d assume we’d only award VTEP to the group that originally voted for the player that got unanimously booted.

          4. It certainly never feels like something so meaningless would ever be a point of pride or bragging amongst you fine people. How uncivilized that would be!

        2. A vast quantity of my comments were unrelatedly making fun of Savage for looking like an idiot. I couldn’t have been prouder.

  15. God, I need a cigarette after reading this, and I don’t even smoke.

    He may not last long, but however long he lasts will be a gift to us all.

    1. Yes! And the exit interviews will be entertaining as hell, where usually there’s barely anything to talk about

  16. Tony is the deadest dead man walking this season. He has absolutely no chance of winning, and I’m not sure how he survives the first tribal without an idol. I’m hoping he lasts 3-4 episodes before going to tribal, solely so we get to see him run around like a lunatic child on a sugar-high for a few episodes. My fear is that he goes to tribal the first episode and that’s the end of it.

          1. I figured, but wanted to share my sadness.

            One leg up that Tony has on Hatch is that Hatch’s big strength- figuring out basic alliance mechanics faster than his rivals- was not useful in surviving an early game as a big target. Tony’s strengths- finding idols, winning challenges, sowing chaos- are useful in this situation. He at least has a chance to Tony his way out of a bad spot.

      1. Yes. Absolutely yes. I think that He Who Must Not Be Named has a better chance to win this season than Tony. Tony is a dead man walking.

    1. I agree that his early game is SO reliant on his ability to get and properly use an idol, but every day that he is still in the game is one more day more dangerous he becomes. I actually think that for Tony, the longer he is in the game, the easier things will become for him. The start will be his biggest challenge.

  17. After re-reading John’s article and thinking about my experience, i’ll say this much: I wasn’t all that crazy about Tony at first, but i think that Tony, and Cagayan for that matter, is really a season that needs some space. Once I was able to take a few steps back, i really understood why the season is so well regarded and why Tony is such an infamous player where many other winners just aren’t.

    For example, I found Tony’s Jeremiah-fake idol clue move to be so frustrating, but later I realized that if someone else, like Michaela (bae) had done that, i probably would have been standing and clapping in my living room. Once I was a few weeks out from the total investment of that season, I was able to better evaluate Tony as an amazing player and ignore some of his traits that really put me off during Cagayan.

    This reminds me a lot of music. For me personally, i usually need a few times through an album before i can really determine if I like it or not. At first, some of my favorite albums sounded like junk, and now i’m crazy about them. I wouldn’t say i’m crazy about Tony yet, but i’ve definitely become far more excited about seeing him play again.

    1. I agree with the thing about music. I very rarely have an opinion about an album after the first listen.

      1. It took me years to get into Radiohead, now they are one of my most listened to bands and seeing them at Lollapalooza last year was an important moment in my life, lol

          1. lol, do you assume i’m young because it took longer to get into Radiohead? It also took me a bit of time to get into Sonic Youth and Beyonce, but now look at me?

            *considers changing avatar to a picture of Kim Gordon*

          2. LOL. Yeah, but Lolla has dramatically changed from its roots as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addication (though they did play last year, cause it was the 25 anniversary)

    2. Going into Cagayan, i was a Survivor newbie. I was returning to Survivor for first time since watching Borneo as a kid. After a friend told me how great Blood vs Water was, I decided to jump on. Watching tony play was very entertaining but confusing. He seemed totally reckless. Why build a spy shack? Why lie to Sarah? He was moving to fast for a 39 day game. He overplayed situations for no reason. He told stories for no reason. I thought he would burn out. Somehow, he ended up on the side with numbers. Then I thought he was too paranoid. Why fuck over your alliance by voting out LJ? Why backstab Trish? This will blow up in your face. In my mind, you win challenges, gain trust and build up your alliance and alliances within that alliance. You don’t mess with the formula until you absolutely have to. Tony didn’t align with my thinking and goddamn it was glorious. I left Cagayan with such an appreciation for Tony. His chaotic strategy opened my eyes to something new. This game I have long forgotten was this insane chess game with colorful characters. I needed more of this. Tony in Cagayan played a big part of that.

      1. I had very very similar thoughts, but from an opposite position. I went into Cagayan knowing the hype and knowing Tony won. Thus, my expectations for him where skewed by trying to compare his game to that of other players/winners who I thought were great players. However, Tony’s game is just so different and so unique, my immediate reaction was “what?” and then the more I digested it, the more I came to appreciate it for being unlike and incomparable to the rest.

        1. Sometimes I just think Tony was the dog that ran across a 10-lane freeway and didn’t get hit. That’s not to say he isn’t a deserving winner or I don’t like him–he is and I listed him as one of my favorite players. But if it were possible to Men-in-Black the Cagayan players and rerun the season 100 times, I wonder if he’d win more than once.

  18. Does anyone know if the Survivors are contractually obligated to use twitter?

    I’m hoping we can guess from Tony’s pregame twitter activity that he is not first out.

    Really wanna see his Cloning trick and Underground Spy-shack, but that could happen in the first 3 days possibly.

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